This weekend I will race the Park City Point to Point – 75 miles of pristine singletrack over some of the most scenic and popular mountains in Utah. I am excited about this race for a number of reasons. There are the obvious things, like the trails, the competition, the camaraderie, and that overwhelming sense of accomplishment that follows a successful bout with anything of this magnitude. Did I mention the climbing yet? No? well, there is an estimated 14,000 feet of elevation gain over those 75 miles. Suddenly that singletrack does not seem so “pristine” anymore. It is going to hurt. And I may find myself cursing every inch of that pernicious Mid-Mountain trail.
Where was I?
Right. Other reasons to be excited. Just over two years ago I smashed my face into the aforementioned Mid-Mountain Trail. That crash was the spark that started a downward trend in my fitness and racing. A trend that I think lingered and continued all the way until this spring. Of course, there were other factors that played a part in that decline, but that crash is a nice scapegoat, something I can specifically point to and say ‘that is when it all began’.
But that era is over.
I am 19 lbs lighter today, than I was on January 1 of this year. And frankly, I feel pretty damn good about that. I earned respectable results in a very competitive race series, and just a couple of weeks ago had one of my better performances all year. No, I am not referring to the mu-mu ride, but rather to the Mount Ogden 50k. (Although the mu-mu ride was pretty freakin’ sweet!) In other words, I feel great these days, both physically and mentally. I could not ask to be in a better spot, considering the path I have been over the last two years. Now, certainly those years have been good ones. I have nothing to complain about, understand I am specifically referring to racing. Life is good. But it is better when I am in shape and can ride fast.
What does it all mean for this weekend?
Nothing. Except that I feel the PCPP could close that chapter of my life, a chapter that opened at a Park City race, that consisted of DNF’s, crashes, bonks, weight gain, and piss poor results. Of course, it could re-open or continue that tradition as well. Which is why I am going into the race with little expectation, and only modest ambitions. I will ride hard, dig deep, and do all I can to race the beast, hopefully ripping the legs off a few of you all in the process, but if not…well, then I’d be happy to just be out there on the mountain, pushing and challenging myself, dealing with whatever adversary race day conjures up. But if I can beat Aaron and collect on his churro wager, so much the better!
In the meantime I am going to settle into my new neighborhood. I hear Lambert Park and Corner Canyon have some “decent” trails. Oh, and there is something called American Fork Canyon just a mile or so from my porch. Apparently the riding up there – both on and off the road – is “adequate”. Only one way to find out.